Protests call for clean drinking water in Indigenous communities

Protests call for clean drinking water in Indigenous communities

It took Vada White four months before her roommates convinced her it was OK to drink the water in Halifax.

"I have always been told not to drink the water. You don't know what it's going to do to you," White said.

'Justin Trudeau made a promise'

White was one of dozens of people who took part in a protest Saturday in Halifax to remind the prime minister about his promise to end all long-term boil water advisories in First Nations communities within five years.

"Justin Trudeau made a promise in his budget last year to devote a lot of money to installing clean water in these communities and nothing has happened so far," said protest organizer, Katie Douglas.

It was one a year ago that the prime minister committed $2 billion for water and wastewater infrastructure over five years to end boil-water advisories.

'We are paying attention'

In that budget $141.7 million will be spent over five years for testing and monitoring reserves' drinking water and $1.8 billion over the same period of time would go to facility operation and maintenance.

"We're here as voters to let him know that we are paying attention and we have not forgotten and we want to see change," Douglas said.

White said growing up, she got used to the water condition.

'Added factor' concerns

"But since I've been home and when I've come back and bathed in it, I've noticed that I've definitely broken out into skin rashes and you can smell the sulphur in it."

It took her a long time to trust the water in Halifax. She used to buy bottles of water until her roommates convinced her the municipal water was safe.

"In the morning I can go and fill up my coffee pot from the tap and be fine. Whereas at home I would have to go and fill my coffee pot up from the little cooler we have," White said.

"And then showering, I can just hop in. It's great, I don't have to worry about that added factor, right?"